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Community Benefits

Community Benefit Programs and Activities 2014-2016

To view the complete Hallmark Health System (HHS) 2014-2016 Community Benefits Plan, including a summary of identified needs for each priority area, please click here.

For a detailed analysis of the community health needs within the HHS service area, please refer to the Community Benefits Needs Assessment which includes the primary, secondary and stakeholder data used to identify the community needs and priorities to be addressed within the plan.

Primary Priorities

(A) Residents managing behavioral health issues and substance use including depression, anxiety, co-occurring substance use disorders, and serious and persistent mental illness. This will include a focus on access to care issues, integration of behavioral health and primary care, preventive mental health, and a particular emphasis on the geriatric population and their families/caregivers.

Programs:

  • Outpatient psychiatric care for vulnerable populations will be provided through a sliding scale fee adjustment for elders or adult psychiatric clients identified in financial need. This program complies with the Hallmark Health System debt collection policies and practices.
  • Behavioral health visits in the Emergency Departments will include SBIRT Screening (screening, brief-intervention, resource, and treatment) for all patients where appropriate. Of note, in the MWH Emergency Department, trained psychiatric nurses are available to support optimal patient care.
  • HHS will continue to provide support to the Melrose, Medford, Reading and Wakefield Substance Abuse Prevention Coalitions. HHS has also convened the HASURC (Hallmark Health Substance Use Regional Collaborative) to support local cities and towns with this effort.
  • A community-based Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group will continue to be offered weekly at the Melrose campus. This is one of three AA meetings offered in Melrose and is the only handicapped-accessible site. 
  • In 2014, Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice will continue to offer a series of ongoing support groups to help those who have experienced loss, including support groups such as Surviving Grief and Change and Surviving Loss Over Sixty.
  • In addition, “Kids in Grief”, a program for children who have experienced loss utilizing expressional therapy, will be offered in multiple sessions this year. 
  • In Wakefield and in Stoneham, Community Teams will continue to support annual drives for local troops stationed overseas in service of our country. The goal of this program is to ease the isolation of local service men and women during their assignment and to provide a community bridge for them as they return home from deployment overseas. 
  • The Behavioral Health Departments will provide annual community depression screening and educational sessions. 
  • In Melrose, HHS continues to support the “Shine the Light” Program to address a community education need resulting from a sexual predator incident affecting children cared for by the Melrose Family YMCA. 
  • Behavioral Health Services continues to provide a single-number resource line to allow the community to easily access behavioral health services. Staff and the community may use this resource to identify services within HHS and with other local providers. Case management services are also provided as needed.
  • The Supported Birthing Program will seek funding to continue providing support and education sessions for pregnant women in addictions treatment. 
  • The North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network (NSCFRN) in collaboration with Maternal Newborn Services will provide support and education for parents with babies discharged from the Special Care Nursery, especially those under treatment for addictions.
  • Other programs such as Healthy Families and the MA Home Visiting Initiative, the North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network, include prevention and referral for behavioral health and substance use as core program components.
  • The Dutton Center Adult Day Health and Supportive Day Program will continue to offer Supportive Day Care for all seniors and Adult Day Healthcare for those with special physical, cognitive or emotional needs, including those with mental health and developmental challenges. 
  • Alzheimer’s Caregivers and other Caregiver Support groups will be offered throughout the year.
  • A bi-monthly program “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in Harmony” will be offered through the North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network and local community collaborations.
  • Intensive behavioral health day treatment is available for both adults (over 18 years) and elders.
  • In the fall outpatient groups will be offered in psycho-education, mood management, and developing enhanced coping skills.
  • In FY 14- an outpatient Geriatric Assessment and Treatment Center will be opened to offer more specialized mental health support, including consideration of issues like home safety and driving, with goal to keep people housed and independent in their homes.

(B) Community members at risk for developing cancer or being treated for cancer, with a focus on lung cancer, colorectal cancer, oral, head and neck cancer, breast cancer, and skin cancer.

Programs:

  • Opportunities for Skin Cancer Screening will be available for community members annually.
  • A Breast Health Awareness program will be held in the community annually. HHS opened a comprehensive Breast Health Center in 2012.
  • Through a relationship with the Malden YWCA, underserved women will be provided screening and care to promote breast health. HHS will participate in the annual YWCA “Tina’s Heart” cancer survivor program hosted by the YWCA. HHS also supports the YWCA’s efforts to screen women for breast cancer through their Avon grant. 
  • In addition mammography screening events will be offered to low-income diverse residents in the services area. 
  • A sliding scale fee and scholarship program will be offered for low-income residents with lymphedema.
  • An eight-week group support and cessation education will be made available to patient and employee tobacco users. These low cost programs will be available throughout the year and follow the successful American Lung Association program guidelines.
  • An oral, head and neck cancer screening will be offered annually.
  • The Hallmark Health System Hematology and Oncology Center in Stoneham will offer a variety of cancer support groups to aid families in coping with the physical, social and emotional aspects of cancer. Facilitated by nurses, social workers, and other clinical members, the groups will be held at the Center. One of the groups offered will be a four-part series entitled, “I Can Cope”, which includes sessions on learning about cancer and cancer treatments, understanding feelings and family relationships, discovering resources and celebrating life. Attendance will be monitored.
  • Community Education programs focused on cancer prevention will be planned and implemented throughout the year, especially focused on geographic areas with a higher than average incidence of certain cancers. Cancer Conversations will be offered with a focus on both men and women.
  • Chronic Disease Self-Management programs will be offered to long-term cancer patients and recovering smokers.
  • Limited transportation is made available for low-income residents without other means to access care.
  • Radiation oncology treatments are provided to patients from Cambridge Health Alliance through a collaborative practice agreement.

(C1) Residents at risk for developing cardiovascular disease or those experiencing health issues due to undiagnosed or poorly understood cardiovascular risks, including those at risk for developing Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and for suffering a stroke.

(C2) Men, women, and children with weight management issues, with a specific focus on obesity prevention for adults and children.

(C3) Community members at risk for developing diabetes or with diabetes management issues.

Programs:

  • The “Red Dress Day” program offering health education and screening will be offered in the community annually. The programs offer participants heart healthy information, health screenings and the opportunity to speak with a financial counselor, a pharmacist and/or a dietician. 
  • The Healthy Heart Educational Series through the Cardiac & Endovascular Center at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital will be offered annually. 
  • “Watch Over Me”, a stroke community health education program, will continue to be offered in the community. Volunteers will be trained to reach out to their peers to spread the “FAST” message about stroke, and health education lectures will be provided by trained professional staff and physicians. This program will be implemented in collaboration with Winchester Hospital. 
  • An Anticoagulation Management Service was developed and implemented in late 2012, the services will continue. 
  • Funding will be sought to extend the number of maintenance sessions available to residents needing cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services that do not have insurance coverage. This program will comply with the HHS debt collection policies and practices. 
  • Varicose Vein Screening will be offered annually. Participants with abnormal screening values will be referred for treatment and provided follow-up care.
  • Blood Pressure clinics will be offered through the VNA and at community events throughout the year. Screening/education tools will be used consistently across program departments to measure the number of residents screened, the health information provided, and any follow-up and referral done with patients.
  • A multi-session tested BP reduction program is available without charge to residents identified as at risk.
  • The HHS Senior Outreach Program will offer nursing services such as nursing assessments and referrals, blood pressure screenings, individual health conferences and support groups. Education programs will be provided on topics ranging from healthy aging to diabetes management. Chronic disease self-management programs are also being offered.
  • HHS will continue to support Mystic Valley Elder Services Senior Citizen lunches at the West Medford Community Center. This is a racially diverse area of the community where many seniors are living at or below the poverty level.
  • In Stoneham, Community Team Volunteers provide support for family supper programs hosted by various town sponsors. These programs provide a hot meal, health education and health screenings for families in financial need. 
  • Chronic Disease Self-Management programs will be offered for seniors in collaboration with Merrimack Valley and Mystic Valley Elder Services.
  • The North Suburban WIC program will continue to focus on improving the identification and management of enrolled participants at risk for developing gestational diabetes and those requiring support to manage their disease. 
  • HHS will sponsor diabetes education and screening programs to support patients in getting their blood sugar under control through diet and exercise and making healthy lifestyle choices. The programs will focus on educating patients to address all aspects of diabetes management, from lifestyle and emotional issues to medical treatments and long-term health concerns.
  • The Diabetes Self-Management Program will continue to offer group or 1:1 classes. Scholarships are provided for patients without insurance coverage or with limited financial resources. Family members and friends are also invited to attend without cost to allow them to be able to support the patient with diabetes.
  • Exercise programs will be provided for residents with diabetes.
  • Screening to identify community members at risk for developing diabetes will be offered during the year at community events and programs. These screenings will be focused on geographic communities identified through data as having many underserved residents. Patients identified as at risk will be offered referrals and follow-up care. 
  • The Malden Elder Asian Diabetes Project, funded by the Marshall/Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation, will offer education and screening for elder Asian residents in collaboration with the Chinese Culture Connection of Malden.
  • Diabetes Support Groups will meet monthly. This program receives clinical support from the hospital’s Diabetes Self-Management Team. 
  • “Healthy Kids in Motion” will be offered to elementary age students. 
  • A “Healthy Adults in Motion” program will be offered annually. This program will be available to underserved residents. Follow-up activities and referrals will be made as appropriate.
  • A four to six week Advanced Bariatric Support Group will be offered twice annually for patients more than two years post-operative from bariatric surgery.
  • Health Awareness Education programs focused on healthy eating will be provided throughout the year. These programs are offered for diverse age groups. 
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) Screening will be offered annually at local community events.
  • Support will be provided to the Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, and Wakefield Community Transformation grants as funding allows. 
  • An Overeaters Anonymous Group will be offered space for their program at LMH.

(D) Residents needing access to healthcare especially focused on uninsured or underserved residents of our core communities. This includes the recruitment, education and training of nurses, physicians, other practitioners and community volunteers needed to care for these populations.

Programs:

  • Information will be provided on the HHS website, at physician offices, at the hospital campuses and offsite locations to assist families in accessing financial counseling services. 
  • HHS policies will include fair debt-collection practices.
  • HHS Financial Counselors will support individuals to enroll and re-enroll in the distinctive state health programs; such as Mass Health, Commonwealth Care, Children’s Medical Security Plan, Healthy Start and the Health Safety Net and to assist additional people in choosing a managed care plan and a primary care practitioner. Outreach and education to uninsured residents will be provided as resources allow.
  • Through community collaboration, HHS will refer residents to education sessions designed to assist them in retaining health insurance coverage.
  • Interpreter service availability, in accordance with Hallmark Health policy, will be advertised publicly in conjunction with financial counseling services. Services provided over and above requirements, such as providing translation services at health screening events will be tracked.
  • HHS and Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Inc. will work in partnership with Somerville Cambridge Elder Services, Cambridge Health Alliance and Mystic Valley Elder Services on a federal Community Innovations program to benefit local elders in transitions of care.
  • As an organization, HHS will attempt to recruit and retain diverse staff. HHS will also recruit diverse medical staff as appropriate. 
  • The HHS Diversity Steering Committee will meet quarterly to develop training programs on diversity and discuss system-wide issues impacting access to care. Ongoing diversity training will continue to be implemented for HHS staff and leaders.
  • Training for nursing and radiology students from the Lawrence Memorial/Regis College School of Nursing/ Medical Radiology will be provided; including those who represent diverse communities. Both faculty and students in the nursing and radiology programs will be offered opportunities to engage in community activities. Both schools provide scholarship opportunities for community residents to be trained in the health professions as eligible.
  • Mentoring opportunities will be made available for nursing and radiology students from Salem State University, Lawrence Memorial/Regis College and other colleges; for nutrition students from Tufts University, Framingham State University and other colleges and in for other health disciplines such as pharmacy, where students come from colleges such as the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. Students in other disciplines will be mentored as resources allow. 
  • A pharmacy residency program for registered pharmacists is also available. 
  • Mentoring opportunities for new physicians will be made available through the Hallmark Health Medical Associates Physician Practice Program and in the hospitals of the system. 
  • A web-based medical library will be available for use by area residents and local community access television and publications will be utilized to share important health information with the community.
  • Limited transportation services will be made available to residents with no other documented means of accessing care and to clients in the Intensive Outpatient Program.
  • Continuing Medical Education will be offered regularly at both hospital campuses. These programs will be open to all medical staff in the community. Community educational opportunities offered to the community through the School of Nursing and Radiology will also be tracked.

(E) Vulnerable populations such as families with children/adolescents at risk due to poverty, isolation, language or cultural barriers, domestic violence, access to care issues, or lack of skills to navigate the health care system, lack of early prenatal care or those in need of developing parenting skills. 

Programs:

  • Healthy Families home-visiting program for first-time parents age 20 and under, living in Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham  and Wakefield.  Funded by the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) and supported by HHS, Healthy Families will offer free services for participants and their families during pregnancy and until the child turns three. Healthy Families provides home visits, prenatal and parenting education, mentoring, family-focused groups and activities and connects families to community resources.
  • Additional participants and an expanded age group (22 years and under) will be served in Everett though the MA Home Visiting Initiative (MHVI) funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and supported through a collaboration with the Children’s Trust Fund.
  • The North Suburban Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and supported by HHS, will provide food and nutrition services to prenatal and postpartum women and infants and children under the age of five at four local sites.
  • The “Fit and Fabulous” Prenatal Exercise and Nutrition program will continue to be offered for prenatal women from 16 weeks to term with their health care providers’ approval. This program will be offered through special WIC funding. 
  • WIC Parenting Education and Support program “Mornings with Mom” will be offered. This free program includes a nutrition class, followed by a playgroup. 
  • The WIC Farmer’s Market program will be offered in the summer. Farmer’s Market coupons are provided and used to purchase fresh vegetables and fruits grown at approved Farmer’s Markets on a first-come, first serve basis. 
  • The “Mothers Helping Mothers” Program, a community resource closet providing free gently used maternity clothes, children’s clothing, and infant care products, expects to serve more than 600 families this year. Parenting education and resources and referrals are also provided.
  • The Family Support Worker position, funded through a WIC pilot will help families with overall support service needs such as referrals to English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, housing assistance, SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) and others.
  • Through collaboration with the Greater Boston Food Bank and HHS, a monthly mobile food pantry will be offered at the WIC site in Malden. More than 16,000 residents in this area are considered “food insecure”-without the necessary resources to purchase food to maintain a nutritious diet.
  • Through collaboration with the Malden Board of Health and WIC, lead prevention education and lead testing will be offered to children three to five years at the Malden WIC site.
  • Education offerings such as “Shopping with Tots” will be provided by the Nutrition Service Department. The program is designed to promote healthy eating and to help parents and caregivers to utilize experiential learning, such as their grocery shopping trips as ways to provide developmentally appropriate learning for their child.
  • The North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network (NSCFRN) is a community based parenting education and support program that serves families living or working in Melrose, Stoneham and Wakefield as well as other local communities. The Network, funded by a grant through the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care through a partnership with the Melrose, Stoneham and Wakefield Public Schools, will offer parent/child play and learn groups, parenting education programs, support groups, family fun activities, as well as information on community resources. Programs will also be available for grandparents, single parents and fathers.
  • As a “Help Me Grow” site, the NSCFRN will assist parents and caregivers to learn and use appropriate developmental assessment tools to enhance child growth and development.
  • An expanded collaboration of the NSCFRN and Everett Public Schools will allow HHS to serve Everett residents in the Family Network model.
  • Evidence-informed programs for women will be offered, based on needs identified through focus groups. 
  • “Creative Coping for New Moms”, a parenting education and support group model, will provide group support and parent education for first-time families with children under the age of one.  In 2013, a component of exercise and nutrition was be added for mothers.
  • Integrated breastfeeding support and education will be provided through Maternal Newborn Services, Community Health Education, through the Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, WIC, Healthy Families, the North Suburban WIC program, and the NSCFRN. This includes a pilot home visiting model in collaboration with Northeastern University, the State Department of Public Health and local Mass in Motion programs.
  • The Melrose-Wakefield Hospital’s Baby Café and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital’s Baby Café Malden, in affiliation with the UK-based Baby Café Charitable Trust, will provide pregnant and breastfeeding mothers a friendly and comfortable environment to learn more about breastfeeding. In 2013, WIC was funded to add another Baby Café location, in Everett. This site opened in the spring of 2013.
  • Shaken Baby prevention and education services will be offered for staff and families in the community through the WIC program. A WIC staff member is certified as a “Happiest Baby on the Block” trainer.
  • Prenatal Class Scholarships will be provided for those individuals meeting the guidelines for free care in accordance with the Attorney General’s recommended debt collection practices.
  • With the ongoing financial instability in this geographic area, families continue to be sheltered in the motels along Route 99 in Malden and Saugus. These families are being sheltered for a variety of reasons and for varying lengths of time. HHS and other local partners will continue to monitor and address the need for family support by these residents and work together to meet the needs as reasonable.
  • In Stoneham, Community Team volunteers provide monthly support for Family Supper programs hosted by the town. These programs provide a hot meal, health education and health screenings for families in financial need. 
  • Community drives to support families in financial need are held throughout the year and include clothing and diaper drives for children in our area, holiday food, book and toy drives and a school supply drive for children in Medford.
  • Family Suppers will be hosted at the hospitals to promote overall health and improved connections between families. Each supper will include a health education lecture. 

Secondary Priorities

(a) Residents impacted by infectious disease such as Tuberculosis; especially those residing in Everett, Malden and Medford.

Programs:

  • HHS will provide space and staffing for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Tuberculosis Clinic. This program provides screening, education, and treatment for residents of all ages in Everett, Malden and Medford. It is operated in collaboration with the city Boards of Health in these communities.
  • HHS is currently working with the Malden Board of Health to secure funding for specialized TB testing for children. This would replace less accurate screening measures.
  • These residents’ needs will also be addressed as a component of the Emergency Planning process for the health system.

(b) Men, women and children at risk for developing bone and joint injuries or disease with a focus on injury prevention for all ages; specifically falls prevention, arthritis and osteoporosis prevention and detection  and prevention of sports injuries, including head injury in youth.

Programs:

  •  Bone and Joint Camp, a pre-surgical education program will continue to be offered to community residents to assist them in planning for post-surgical recovery, thus reducing hospital stays. This includes staff from the Nutrition Department, Rehabilitation Services and many others.
  • “Joint Talks” will be provided to physician groups to increase their awareness of new arthritis treatment options available for patients. 
  • “Falls Prevention” lectures will be offered in the community annually. 
  • The “Falls Prevention Task Force” will continue to meet to offer support system-wide and collect information to reduce falls and promote safety in the community.   
  • “Back School” lectures will be offered to educate community members about injury prevention, exercises to reduce injuries, and postural control.
  • The Osteoporosis Screening and Education Program will continue to offer education and screening programs throughout the HHS service area. Patients identified through the screening process will be referred to treatment or receive follow-up support through the program.
  • The HHS Rehabilitation Department will offer a variety of sports medicine education programs focused on the prevention of injuries, including head and spine injuries. The education programs will be offered to parents, caregivers and coaches of student athletes to assist them in preparing children/ adolescents for an active lifestyle, while focused on reducing risk of injury. 
  • Athletic trainer programs will also be offered at some of the local high schools. The costs of these services are not fully reimbursed.
  • A concussive injury program has been developed and implemented for local students. The testing equipment has been funded by a grant from the Boston Bruins Foundation.

(c) Residents with Chronic Respiratory Condition such as COPD and Asthma

Programs:

  • HHS offers a free monthly adult support group “Better Breathers” to assist residents to better manage their chronic respiratory illness.
  • Children with asthma are referred to other local programs such as those at Winchester Hospital and Cambridge Health Alliance.


(d) Domestic Violence Prevention & Education is a key initiative for Hallmark Health System.  Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of coercive controlling behaviors that one person exercises over another in an intimate relationship.

Programs:

  • HHS staff members provide support to three local coalitions in Melrose, Stoneham and Wakefield. 
  • In addition to the support it provides for the prior mentioned domestic violence prevention programs, HHS will also provide space and services to the Portal to Hope program. 
  • A Domestic Violence Support group will be offered in collaboration with the Melrose Alliance Against Violence and other local prevention coalitions.

(e) The community at-large to be prepared for disasters and emergencies: Only those activities constituting services over and above what is required will be tracked as community services and benefits.

Programs:

  •  Clinical staff and administrators will participate in local, regional and state activities, including drills aimed at preparing for a range of natural and other disasters such as pandemic flu and other health emergencies. 
  • HHS will participate on regional and local emergency planning committees and will also serve as a receiving facility for victims of emergencies and natural disasters as needed.
  • HHS will partner with the American Red Cross to host blood drives annually. 
  • HHS will continue to collaborate with our communities to provide education and support for seasonal Flu Clinics in the core HHS communities. (This will also include the work of the Hallmark Health Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice.) Other immunizations and Tuberculosis testing will be provided as needed and in alignment with available resources.
  • HHS will participate in community-oriented CPR training programs in collaboration with local agencies. At HHS community health events, CPR demonstrations will continue to be offered to build awareness about the need for the public to learn and perform CPR.
  • American Heart Association “Family and Friends CPR Anytime” will be offered at local high schools in collaboration with community partners. Students will be encouraged to train additional family and friends using the kits provided. 
  • An annual dinner and training will be offered to the local first responder groups in the area.
  • HHS will continue to provide Medical Control for the City of Melrose’s Ambulance Program, providing local ambulance service in collaboration with Cataldo Ambulance. Medical oversight for this program will be provided by HHS. In 2013, an Advanced Life Support Component was also added.
  • The Emergency Department will provide “just-in-time” education sessions for ambulance company providers and quarterly Morbidity & Mortality education rounds. These programs will focus on helping Emergency Medical Providers to be better prepared in emergencies by using strategies such as hypothetical case discussions.
  • File of Life activities will be supported as requested in local communities; such as providing support to the File of Life Committee in Medford, focused on reaching out to Haitian Creole speaking residents.
  • The Lifeline Emergency Response Program, including medication support, will continue to be widely available for community residents. 
  • The Emergency Planning Team will work to identify the specific needs of underserved populations and develop policies and strategies to address these needs as appropriate.

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